Trey Wingo on NFL Draft’s Las Vegas debut, marathon ESPN broadcast, uncertainty around No. 1 pick

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The NFL Draft will be held in Las Vegas for the first time as the league has come to fully embrace sports gambling and all the dollars and cents that have come with it.

Caesars Entertainment, the official casino sponsor of the NFL, will be hosting the draft. The NFL Draft Theater and NFL Draft Experience will be adjacent to the Caesars Forum and behind the High Roller, which towers over The Linq and the rest of the Las Vegas Strip.

Trey Wingo, Caesars’ chief trends officer and former ESPN broadcaster, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that having the draft in the entertainment capital of the world made the most sense to him.

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On April 26, 2022, Caesars Palace is ready for the NFL Draft.
(Ryan Gaydos / Fox News)

“I’m old enough to remember 2014 when the NFL kiboshed Tony Romo from having a fantasy football convention at a Vegas hotel and now we’re here at the draft and down the street from the Las Vegas Raiders. Times change, things evolve, “Wingo said. “Once the Supreme Court struck down that ruling, all bets were off. The NFL’s really good at two things – making money and keeping our attention year-round. This was a massive market for them to delve into and it worked out really well for them.

“Ten years ago, I would’ve said you’re crazy. Now, it makes all the sense in the world.”

Wingo will be working with his former ESPN colleague Kenny Mayne on taking over some of Caesars’ social media accounts, which he jokingly said “could be a disaster and it could be very awesome.” Wingo said he’ll be doing a lot of reading and react and analyze the draft picks as they come in as well as talking to some Pro Football Hall of Famers and other NFL legends.

“The draft is the ultimate crapshoot so it makes all the sense in the world it should be in Vegas. Every pick, whether you believe it or not, is a roll of the dice,” he added.

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Wingo got his first experience broadcasting at the draft for ESPN in 2000. He described to Fox News Digital what a marathon it was.

“We did a live stream of the draft from the ESPN Sports Zone. It was me and five players that I had never met before – five NFL players talking about the draft. And when I tell you it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.… That was when it was 15 minutes in between picks in the first round. We had five players and five microphones. No commercial breaks. No one to say, ‘Hey you guys talk about…’ Bro, I felt like someone had beat me over the head with a golf club.It was exhausting, but also fun.

“Then I started doing stuff with Jaws (Ron Jaworski) and (Merril Hoge) at the draft and eventually took over days two and three. And then for five years in a row I was the main host of the draft. There’s nothing like it . Like the energy you feed off the crowd. There’s no other way to describe it, it’s just fun. “

This year’s draft could be as chaotic and “fun” as ever.

There is no clear-cut no. 1 pick as there has been in recent years. Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker and Evan Neal have all been rumored to be potential top picks when the Jacksonville Jaguars go on the clock.

Bo Nix of the Auburn Tigers rolls out of the pocket as he is pressured by Travon Walker of the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct.  9, 2021, in Auburn, Alabama.

Bo Nix of the Auburn Tigers rolls out of the pocket as he is pressured by Travon Walker of the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 9, 2021, in Auburn, Alabama.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Wingo said Caesars Sportsbook has the Georgia standout Walker going No. 1.

“But that’s what makes this draft fun, right? Six of the last seven drafts, quarterbacks were doing No. 1. In fact, this would be the sixth time since 2001 when a quarterback doesn’t go No. 1. But someone’s going to reach on a quarterback because they always do, “Wingo said.

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“Since 2001, there’s only been one draft where a quarterback wasn’t taken in the top three and that was in 2013 when EJ Manuel went 16th overall to Buffalo. We’ve had at least three quarterbacks go in the first round since the last six drafts, which is the longest ever. The only time it didn’t happen was in 2015 when Jameis (Winston) and Marcus Mariota went one and two. People always say they’re not going to draft a quarterback yet. I got to get a quarterback because it’s such a quarterback-driven league. “

The excitement around Neal has risen in the days leading up to the draft while Hutchinson had been the favorite since he announced he was going to go pro. And the reason for that, Wingo said, was because “nobody knows anything this year.”

“They’re all terrified. This draft is a really good deep draft. There’s good players because of the COVID years, you know, fifth, fifth- and sixth-year seniors getting those extra years. There’s a lot of good players in this There’s not a lot of superstars in this draft, “Wingo said.

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He compared this year’s crop of talent to the 2013 event when three offensive linemen were taken in the first four selections.

“Nobody knows anything. This is going to be the worst year ever for mock drafts. The carnage is going to be real and spectacular. And we also have eight teams that don’t have a first-round pick. And right now, eight teams that have multiple first-round picks, that’s never happened before. I don’t think all eight teams will use multiple first-round picks. The most we’ve ever had is six, “he said.

Trey Wingo is the chief trends officer for Caesars.

Trey Wingo is the chief trends officer for Caesars.
(Caesars)

“You combine that with no superstar pick, real uncertainty,” Wingo added, saying even when the Cleveland Browns picked Myles Garrett No. 1 in 2017 everyone knew he was going to be the guy.

The Jaguars will be on the clock Thursday night at 8 ET.

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The only thing that’s certain is that nothing is certain and the Jaguars could end up taking anybody. Last year, the team drafted Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 pick.

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